Katherine Verdery is Julien J. Studley Faculty Scholar and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Since 1973 she has conducted field research in Romania, initially emphasizing the political economy of social inequality, ethnic relations, and nationalism. With the changes of 1989, her work shifted to problems of the transformation of socialist systems, specifically changing property relations in agriculture. From 1993 to 2000 she did fieldwork on this theme in a Transylvanian community; the resulting book, The Vanishing Hectare: Property and Value in Postsocialist Transylvania, was published by Cornell University Press (2003). She then completed a large collaborative project with Gail Kligman (UCLA) and a number of Romanian scholars on the opposite process, the formation of collective and state farms in Romania during the 1950s. The resulting book, Peasants under Siege: The Collectivization of Romanian Agriculture, 1949-1962, was recently published by Princeton University Press (2011).
Professor Verdery’s teaching interests include contemporary and socialist Eastern Europe, the anthropology of property, and time and space. Future projects will take off from her Secret Police file, which she received from the Romanian government in 2008. Using it, she plans to write her field memoirs from the vantage point of the police who followed her.